The BYU Cougars traveled some 2,300 miles to the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase in Springfield, Mass., on Saturday afternoon hoping to spring a big upset over No. 21-ranked Massachusetts at the MassMutual Center.
Those hopes were crushed by the smallest player on the floor.
Chaz Williams, a 5-foot-9 guard, scored a career-high 32 points and dished out 15 assists as the Minutemen took a 105-96 win to stay undefeated (8-0). The Cougars (7-3) fell to 0-3 against ranked teams, having previously lost to No. 21 Iowa State and No. 12 Wichita State this season.
"All of [the losses], we played well and we got better, but we need to finish them," BYU freshman forward Eric Mika told KSL Radio.
The Cougars led early, but UMass put together an 11-0 run after falling behind 8-3 and had the advantage the remainder of the game. Their zone defense proved largely ineffective against the quicker Minutemen, especially Williams, who was able to penetrate almost at will.
"We got into a tough spot early and we just had a hard time controlling their penetration," BYU coach Dave Rose said in his postgame radio comments. "That was a huge part of what we had to do. We got into foul trouble early with four guys with two fouls, and that made us soft defensively."
The 6-10 Mika spent big chunks of time on the bench after picking up his second foul on a technical foul midway through the first half. Mika still finished with 18 points, while Tyler Haws led the Cougars with 25 and Matt Carlino added 23. Frank Bartley IV and Kyle Collinsworth added 14 apiece for BYU, giving the Cougars five players in double figures.
But UMass had six players in double figures, led by the lightning-quick Williams.
"The guy was really quick. We couldn't keep him out of the paint," Mika said.
The Minutemen shot 55 percent from the field, and were 9-for-23 from 3-point range. The Cougars were just 4 for 13 from beyond the arc.
"It is going to be really hard to come on the road and beat a team when they shoot 55 percent from the field and you let them score 105 points," Rose said. "I think our guys played their hearts out. They played hard."
Trailing by 11 points at halftime, the Cougars scored the first eight points of the second half to get within three, 52-49. But a 10-2 run UMass run earned it some breathing room and the Cougars did not get closer than eight after that.
"There are a lot of things we can learn from this game," Rose said, not happy with some decision-making in the second half when the Cougars rushed shots, forced shots and did not take the basketball hard to the rim when UMass was also in foul trouble.
The coach said he was also "disappointed" in a sequence that happened with 8:59 remaining in the first half and BYU trailing 25-21. After Haws was taken down hard by a UMass defender, he apparently tried to push the player off him with his feet. A mild scrum ensued, and Haws and Mika were assessed technical fouls, along with UMass' Williams.
So the Minutemen got two technical free throws, and the ball. They made a free throw and a 3-pointer, pushing their lead to 29-21.
"We've got to be better than that," Rose said. "We've got to play through it."
O Chaz Williams scores a career-high 32 points and hands out 15 assists for No. 21 UMass.
• Tyler Haws leads BYU with 25 points, while Matt Carlino adds 23 and Eric Mika 18.
• The Cougars (7-3 overall) fall to 0-3 against ranked teams this season.
No. 21 UMass 105, BYU 96
Mika 6-11 6-7 18, Austin 0-0 0-0 0, Carlino 9-18 4-4 23, Haws 9-16 6-6 25, Collinsworth 4-9 4-7 14, Sharp 0-0 0-0 0, Winder 0-1 0-0 0, Halford 1-3 0-1 2, Bartley IV 4-10 6-8 14, Worthington 0-0 0-0 0.
Totals 33-68 26-33 96
Carter 7-10 5-6 20, Putney 4-7 4-5 15, Lalanne 2-3 1-1 5, Gordon 4-9 2-4 10, Williams 9-14 9-9 32, Dyson 0-0 0-0 0, Esho 6-10 0-0 12, Santee 0-0 0-0 0, Bergantino 0-0 0-0 0, Davis 3-10 5-6 11, Berger 0-0 0-0 0.
Totals 35-63 26-31 105.
HalftimeUMass 52-41. 3-Point GoalsBYU 4-13 (Collinsworth 2-3, Haws 1-3, Carlino 1-5, Bartley IV 0-2), UMass 9-23 (Williams 5-7, Putney 3-6, Carter 1-3, Esho 0-1, Gordon 0-1, Davis 0-5). Fouled OutAustin, Carter. ReboundsBYU 33 (Mika 8), UMass 29 (Esho 6). AssistsBYU 15 (Carlino 6), UMass 29 (Williams 15). Total FoulsBYU 24, UMass 24. TechnicalsHaws, Mika, Williams. A7,331.